Compact fridge - Norcold NRF-30 or Engel MT27F?

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Mar 17, 2011
N. California
I'm looking at a fridge to put in my 60. I want to keep it under 24"x15" so I'm down to the Norcold NRF-30 (30L) and the Engel MT27F. ARB is too big.

The Norcold sells for over $200 less than the Engel. It appears to be a new model for this year and nobody has one locally.

I'm inclined to go ahead and order it but I'd like to understand why the cost is less. Does it use inferior parts? I want to be sure it's rugged enough to survive being offroad.

I'm going to place the order for the Norcold in the morning unless someone can talk me out of it ..
Engel unit has built in 12VDC, 24VDC, and 120VAC operation. The Norcold one looks to only be 12VDC operation. Needs a converter to operate off of 120VAC. :hmm: Looks like some places include the AC adapter, and others don't.

From PPL's page:
The Norcold NRF-30 Compact Fridge provides convenience and durability in the new NRF Series portable compressor refrigerator/freezers. Take your food on the go with one of these portable fridges with a separate freezer section and a reversable hinge lid. It has a capacity of 1.06 cu ft or the equivalent of 42-12 Oz. cans.
Part of the capacity is a freezer section.

The Engel is all one temperature zone.

What I'd like to know is how good is the freezer section in the new Norcold units?
Good catch on the freezer section. I hadn't noticed that. I don't really need a freezer but I'll take one I suppose.

My primary use for the fridge will be to keep my film temperature-controlled. I won't be doing any freezing.

Having cold beer on the trail is just an ancillary benefit :)
The fridge worked out well. I kept it set around 38f. The digital temperature display would vary from 34 to 42f as the fridge warmed and cooled. With a 30 watt solar panel (measured 1.7 amps in bright sun) I ran the fridge for 6 days without starting the truck before it shut off due to low voltage.

The separate compartment is really just an area that stays warmer so if you set the fridge temp to freezing that upper compartment won't get so cold.

I never tried to keep anything frozen so I never tried that out.
I'm fairly certain the new Norcolds are made by Dometic/Waeco. They are good fridges.
And so much for that. After it sat in the garage for a couple of months I reinstalled it in my 60 today and the damn thing won't start up. It's got power (above the threshold for startup) and I waited 2 minutes for the power-on delay but I got nothing.

I'm going to contact the manufacturer tomorrow. Maybe it's something simple. Maybe I'm going to find out how long the warranty is :(
I may have given up on it too soon.

I'm not sure why my multimeter test misled me but it seems the problem is in the vehicle's electrical system.

I did get the fridge to start up after a long drive and good charge. I withdraw my complaints :)

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